Before digital, CD's and tape, sound effects for use in stage plays were available only on 78 RPM records, and they were produced out of New York City by Thomas J. Valentino on the MAJOR label.
Other sound effects records were produced for use in radio and included the Standard label and the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) which created their own in-house library.
A typical entry from the Major catalog:
In both stage and radio, two or more turntables were used so that effects could be mixed. Below, a sample cue sheet from the 1957 "Stage Crew Handbook."
Major's sound effect records cost $2.50 and could be used in perpetuity, without payment of royalties.
Thomas Valentino also produced a line of "Mood Music," which required an additional fee for each "needle drop." Samples of this music can be heard on the 1950's Adventures of Superman and Racket Squad TV film shows. A typical entry:
Here are the Major Sound Effects catalog (1960) and Mood Music book (1961), both donated by Tommy Brent, former producer of Rhode Island's Theatre by-the-Sea.
1961 MOOD MUSIC BOOK